More on Earth day

Bees are disappearing, dying in mass numbers from a disease that’s spread around the world. Bees are a main pollinator of many of food crops. Without them, blooms do not become food. To quote my friend Lierre Keith, “if you are putting the pieces together, you are starting to feel the cold chill of horror up your spine.”

Do you know that scientists studying native species of plants and animals go through cultural relics, such as poems, songs, tapestries, old recipes, to see what species were present and known to people at any one point in history?

I thought of this today, coming across these lines from Tennyson’s “Come Down, O Maid:”

…the children call, and I
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro’ the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

Will this one day soon be evidence of when such a thing was possible, along with thousands and thousands of poems about songbirds? Where I grew up, in Illinois, the immemorial elms were only bits of remaining rotted stumps and street names of treeless streets by the time I was a child, the Dutch Elm canopies only a story my dad told me, like the hillside that had been huge walnut trees before they were all ripped out to make rifles for WW II.

When is the last time you heard the murmur of innumerable bees? Have you ever, walking through a clover field, or lounging in the grass near wild flowers or fruit trees in the spring?

Do you, can you, notice the silence that is absence of presence?


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